The purpose of this World Wide Web page is to list the primary sources by Walter J. Ong that, up to this point, have been collected in printed sources. Some of the sources exist in articles, others in books; others in dissertations. In compiling this bibliography, I used a number of different sources. I first consulted published bibliographies by Leonard P. Bailey (Bulletin of Bibliography and Magazine Notes, vol. 30., no. 1, Jan. - Mar.1973, pp. 39-41 and Randolph F. Lumpp (Oral Tradition, vol. 2, no. 1, 1987, pp. 19 -30). I also looked at bibliographies in Lumpp’s 1976 dissertation, “Culture, Religion, and the Presence of the Word: A Study of the Thought of Walter Jackson Ong” (University of Ottawa) and Anthony’s Palmeri’s 1987 dissertation, “Walter J. Ong’s Perspectives on Rhetorical Theory” (Wayne State University). Finally, I consulted an unpublished bibliography compiled by James C. McDonald, Associate Professor of English, University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, LA. To clarify inconsistencies between these five bibliographies, I consulted documents in the St. Louis Room, Pius XII Library, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO and my own collection of books, articles, and letters by Ong and other documents.
The choice of a Web page for this bibliography came about in a rather serendipitous way. In the summer of 1997, I was awarded a Summer Research Grant by The University of Dayton to begin research for a book-length study on Walter Ong and the Catholic intellectual tradition. I had been reading Ong’s work since 1981, wrote my dissertation on his contribution to the study of rhetoric at Texas A&M University in 1989, and saw it published in 1994. Ong informs my work as a member of the English Department at The University of Dayton; under the aegis of Ong Studies, I can bring all my interests and responsibilities for writing, rhetoric, language, and literature together. Ong’s work, because it is truly interdisciplinary, gives me the opportunity to interact with other specialists both in our department and throughout the university.
In the summer of 1997, I began reading Ong’s work anew and was once again astonished at its breadth and depth. I quickly realized that a recovery of the printed bibliographies would be useful, so my research assistant Molly Youngkin and I went to work looking through the materials I have collected over the years. I had also discovered in 1995 that Ong had begun the process of donating his papers to Pius XII at St. Louis University, his alma mater for his M.A. and the institutition where he taught. A visit to Pius XII Library in July, 1997 gave me not only access to the one-third of his papers Ong has contributed thus far to the Archives, but also the opportunity to meet Dr. John Waide, Head Archivist for the library, and his helpful staff.
When I met with Dr. Waide the first day of my visit, I mentioned to him that my ultimate aim with the bibliographic work my research assistant and I had undertaken was to post it on a World Wide Web page through The University of Dayton since it seemed to me that this newest form of “secondary orality” would allow new possibilities with Ong’s work and even more interaction among Ong scholars, through the WWW links that can be constructed. Dr. Waide informed me that Ong himself had asked that the Archives staff begin an Ong Page sponsored by St. Louis University. Ong is especially interested in a place for the list of his primary works that he has kept over the years, boxes of index cards on which he has recorded each book, article, interview, audiotape, letter, etc. that he has produced, along with the annotations about each one he has written. His wisdom in choosing a Web page for his own list and annotations, carefully collected and kept in written form, speaks to his continuing vitality and intellectual acumen at age eighty-five. St. Louis University officials are working on the Ong page, but Dr. Waide encouraged me to post my Ong bibliography at The University of Dayton and eventually link the two pages so that Ong Studies will continue to expand.
When Ong and I met two days later, we discussed the St. Louis project for an Ong page with his own bibliography from his cards. I explained my plans for my Web page, and he assured me that a bibliography like the one I had underway was fine with him. He told me to ask Dr. Waide for the computer disk of the work on a print bibliography James McDonald had begun at University of Southwestern Louisiana some years ago. I offer this bit of information for those who read in Media, Consciousness, and Culture, the 1991 collection of essays about Ong’s work, and Faith and Contexts, three volumes of Ong’s essays on the religious life, that “a complete annotated bibliography of Ong’s published works is being prepared with his cooperation by Charles M. Kovich of Rockhurst College and James C. McDonald of the University of Southwestern Louisiana” (Media 237). Since that planned bibliography did not materialize, Ong placed the computer disk with the work that was completed in the Archives to be available to interested scholars.
I hope that this WWW page can be a gathering place for those interested in Ong’s work. My research assistant and I were as diligent as we could be in collecting the entries. At this point, the bibliography is just that: a listing of Ong’s primary work decade by decade. We listed all the reprints we could find but realized we probably missed some along the way. My plan for this page is to begin the process of annotation; I invite others to join me in that effort. If you would like to contribute your annotation of any of the works, send it to me at the e-mail address listed on the front page. Include your name, institution, and other information you think is essential, and we will post the annotations. When the St. Louis University Ong page is posted, we can compare our annotations with those written by Ong over the years. If you have a Web page or know about a Web page that discusses Ong’s work, we would also be interested in that information.
My thanks go first to Walter Ong,
who has produced a remarkable body of scholarly work and who is generous
with his time and understanding. To John Waide and his associates at the
Pius XII Library, St. Louis University, for opening access to the Ong papers
and giving me gracious help. To The University of Dayton, administrators
and faculty alike, who see the potential for Ong studies in the 21st century
by awarding research grants for this purpose. To Ong scholars around
the country and world too numerous to name but growing each year.
My deepest thanks to my research assistant Molly Youngkin for her close
attention to detail, her impeccable organizational skills, and her ability
to keep her professor/mother focused on what is important.